vote for the worst boss of 2016

2016 was the year of bad bosses, and now it’s time to vote on the worst one of the whole year. We had a lot of candidates this year, and I’ve tried to narrow it down to the worst.

We’ll crown the worst boss of the year later this week, based on your votes … so please vote below. (Voting ends at 11:59 p.m. EST Wednesday night.)

You might be wondering why I haven’t included the manager whose best employee quit on the spot because she wouldn’t let her attend her college graduation. That’s because I don’t want people to worry that they might end up on a “worst of” list if they write to me. None of the nominees here are the letter-writers themselves.

{ 500 comments… read them below }

      1. Jessesgirl72*

        That’s what I was thinking! There should be some kind of ranking system.

        Although, the ones who got their comeuppance (the horse boss was demoted, the airport pickup boss was fired) are less worse to me than bosses who are still in their positions, making unreasonable demands!

            1. Jen S. 2.0*

              This! Bad Boss Madness 2016. There is so much awfulness here that we should put these people in a cage match and let them fight it out, Hunger-Games style.

        1. Barney Barnaby*

          “Although, the ones who got their comeuppance (the horse boss was demoted, the airport pickup boss was fired) are less worse to me than bosses who are still in their positions, making unreasonable demands!”

          I feel that way, too, except for the dead horse: you can’t bring the horse back to life or give the owner a chance to say good-bye, or re-do it so that the animal has an easier death. That, to me, was the one that was inherently unfixable.

          1. Josh S*

            But I hear you can beat the dead horse. At least, that’s what happens with my clients all the time…

      2. Aunt Margie at Work*

        I came here to say that. I’ve read just about every post from the archives (for real) and this year’s crop is far and away the worst of the worst.
        Chemotherapy, dead animals, medical testing…
        I need to pick at least three.

        1. Emelle*

          I was thinking elementary school mystery meat, old milk cup In a hot car, and manure pile in august, but Gold/Silver/Bronze also works…

      1. Wendy Darling*

        I know, I don’t know how to choose between crashing chemotherapy, demanding employees’ livers, and crashing a wedding and then writing the person up for ejecting them (merely crashing a wedding would not rank top 3 in this year’s stakes) .

        Which is not to say the rest are not shockingly awful. They’re all unbelievably terrible!

        It’s been a year.

    1. INTP*

      I don’t know, I feel like the boss who wants his employees’ livers (including the ones with liver disease, cancer, and who are pregnant) is a pretty clear winner. But all of them deserve a significant “prize” of some sort. (Can the liver boss’ prize be to have his eaten by an eagle every day?)

      1. Mustache Cat*

        I went for chemo crasher, because as far as I see it, that’s a two-for-one special on bad bosses. But yeah, four or five of them including liver-grabber are close runner-ups.

        1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

          Chemo crasher and wedding crasher were very close for me. Liver boss was definitely bad, but for some reason I felt like actually crossing the line (as opposed to threatening to cross the line) was slightly worse.

      2. Thornus67*

        I had to… forgive liver donor, for lack of a better word. It was a horrible situation, but with all of the other candidates, liver donor boss can at least be explained away as handling a family member’s medical emergency VERY poorly. But in my mind there was some part of the reaction/demand that was understandable, albeit totally and completely unreasonable and inexcusable (and illegal).

        Or at least that’s how I took it.

        1. sunny-dee*

          Oh, the request is horrible, but there is at least a legit underlying reason — his brother is dying. Horribly, horribly misguided, but at least it’s because he actually cares about his brother, as opposed to everyone else on the list which seems to care about …. I don’t even know what. Not people, that’s for sure.

        2. phedre*

          That’s how I felt too. Terrible, terrible thing to do, but I can understand how he was motivated by worry for his brother.

        3. Anonymous_For_Comment*

          Agreed. Same here. His actions were understandable, though the better choice would have been to allow everyone an extra day off and $100 bucks if they did the test.

          1. Amazed*

            This was discussed back and forth at the original post too, and the tragedy is that he can’t legally offer anything.

    2. Artemesia*

      I had to go for liver donor but yeah — in any other year any of the top 5 here was a winner. Hard to ignore wedding crasher, chemo crasher, verbal abuse approver and everyone you know has to practice our religion and midnight airport run/write up. I can move heirloom stealer down a notch only because he probably didn’t know it was an heirloom — only thought he could steal it because it was on employees desk at work and while horse killer was awful, it was more incompetence than malice.

      1. Bend & Snap*

        I went liver donor too. I somehow missed it the first time around so the shock & awe were fresh upon reading it here.

      2. SouthernLadybug*

        I had to go with the liver donor because that’s literally wanting pounds of flesh (as a condition of employment….but they were all horrible and deserve some series karmic payback.

        1. Hibiscus*

          Liver donor is bad, but as people pointed out a call to the transplant team at the hospital with details on this would shut it down fast. Chemo infusion patient was trapped.

    3. Fafaflunkie*

      Yeah, I kind of wish we had a way of ranking them 1-2-3 or something. So many bad bosses, so hard to choose just one… 0_O

    4. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      This was one of the most difficult multiple-choice tests I’ve taken in recent history ;)

      1. Lady Blerd*

        So many “winners” to chose from. Chemo and wedding crashers ended up as my last contenders and I chose chemo because upsetting someone who is very sick isn’t going to help her recover.

  1. Security SemiPro*

    This situation is built for instant run off voting. I can pick my top three, but narrowing it further is painful.

      1. OhNo*

        Darn! Well, I hope you’ll give us the final ranking, anyway. I’m dying to see how these stack up against each other!

        1. Fafaflunkie*

          Hopefully we won’t have this deluge of bad bosses next year. But having a weighted vote system will come in handy in case 2017 is at least half as bad as 2016 was in the bad boss department.

      2. The Cosmic Avenger*

        Sorry, I missed this when I commented above. I see what you mean — SurveyMonkey has a very nice ranking feature, but their embedded surveys don’t work on mobile devices. >:|

          1. The Cosmic Avenger*

            Ah, I see….yeah, that sucks. It seems like it should be possible with SurveyMonkey, but they only allow hyperlinks in the question, not the answer choices?!?? I submitted a ticket for that because that’s just ridiculous.

            The other option is to add the links immediately before or after the quiz, in the blog post instead of the survey iframe. But that’s not the way I’d want to design it either.

  2. H.C.*

    Ugh at remembering all of these; can I just pretend it’s one really horrible boss who had multiple jobs this year & did all of the above?!

    1. EmmaLou*

      What’s funny is I bet most of these bosses would be appalled, yes, appalled, I say, at the horrible-ness of those other bosses! “Well, yes, I’d interrupt chemo, but a wedding?! That’s beyond the pale!” “Hey! Livers can grow back! That lady cannot get her horse back! What a horrible boss!”

  3. KMLS*

    I went with chemo-boss, whose actions not only violated work norms during cancer treatment but which got an innocent fired (and threatened to fire said innocent himself), although liver-transplant-boss and allowed-a-horse-to-die boss were neck-and-neck.

    1. NW Mossy*

      I went with chemo boss also, because there were multiple bad bosses (Robert and Ned), an HR department, and a chemo treatment facility that all royally messed up. Liver boss was a close second though for the sheer company-wide scope of the insanity.

    2. Government Worker*

      I did, too. I can spare a pang of sympathy for the emotional state that caused liver-transplant-boss to act badly, but there’s just no excusing chemo boss.

      1. Sophie Winston*

        Yeah – I agree on liver boss, and horse boss was grossly negligent, but chemo boss was intentionally horrible.

        1. Lily*

          For me it’s a tie between Chemo Boss and Harassment Boss. Everyone else can be chalked up to extreme stupidity/insensitivity, but it sounds like those two are just bad people.

          1. Marisol*

            That’s where I’m tied!! Honestly, though, my heart is probably leaning toward Chemo Boss, but my politics make me want to choose Harassment Boss…

          2. BeautifulVoid*

            Harassment Boss IS awful, but it could be due to a number of other issues – poor management training, not wanting to get involved in a sticky situation/choosing inertia until forced to do otherwise (which is crappy, but not uncommon), and doesn’t the harasser have a relative who works in the company? So again, awful, but maybe not a totally evil person. As I went through the list, Chemo Boss eventually stood out as the person who may have a piece of his soul/conscience missing, and that’s how I ultimately voted.

            1. Observer*

              I don’t care if harassment boss is “evil” or not. She is not only being awful herself (blaming the victim!) but is a magnifier for other people’s badness. That’s just a layer too much.

              1. Not So NewReader*

                I had to go with harassment boss. She did not stop being awful and she had many layers of problems. To me she is typical of what is wrong in many stories, not only is she not thinking but, worse, she seems unwilling to learn. Her level of awareness ends at the same point her nose ends. People like this need to be called out.

                But other bosses were really nasty too. It was a tough decision. I am still pretty sad about the horse. Chemo boss, let’s just say it’s good I don’t know who he is.

      2. Jesmlet*

        Agreed. I have a tiny bit of sympathy for the liver boss who’s clearly just trying to save his brother’s life albeit in a horribly intrusive and inappropriate way. Too many bad bosses/HR involved in the chemo story for me to not choose it.

      3. Jen S. 2.0*

        Same. I can maybe, kinda, vaguely, dimly, sorta see the helplessness and deep love for a family member that drove liver-thief boss around the bend. Chemo boss, though, there’s absolutely no excuse.

        But ALL of these people are out of control.

    3. Menacia*

      I went w/chemo-boss as well, did we ever get any kind of update from the OP if they were able to escalate the issue any further? It’s bad enough to have cancer, but to have an insensitive ass show up during your treatment is just adding stress on top of stress. It would seem to me there should be some way that the added stress could be viewed as harassment. I do hope the OP is doing well.

    4. zora*

      this is kind of what I’m thinking, too, partly because it wasn’t just once, he kept doing it OVER AND OVER, WTF?!!? But, I’m also thinking about what Alison said below about the worst at managing, not just the worst at personing, so, I might have to think a bit more before I vote, hhmmmmmmm

    5. Dash*

      I also went with chemo boss. My runner up was airport boss for adding injury (suspension) to insult (demand for pick-up). Horse-boss was merely grossly careless (not intentionally harmful) and you could possibly say that liver-boss’s heart was sort of in the neighborhood of thinking about where the right place might hypothetically be on alternate Tuesdays.

    6. Rhys*

      It was between Chemo boss and Wedding Crasher boss for me but chemo won because at least the employee whose wedding was crashed (hopefully, as far as we know) doesn’t have to also deal with cancer.

      1. eplawyer*

        I couldn’t decide between Chemo Boss and Wedding Crasher. I went with Wedding Crasher because the Boss then blamed the person for his boorish behavior. I forgot Chemo Boss fired someone for his own behavior.

        Definitely went with someone who is still there and punished others for his own behavior. The horse one was sad, but the company did their best to make up for it. Same with the late night driver.

        I didn’t pick Liver Boss because when a loved one is dying you get a little crazy. I can see asking co-workers, even subordinates, for help. But threatening people who didn’t want to help was a little much.

        All in all, much tougher choices than last year. Which about sums up 2016.

        1. bunniferous*

          I followed the same thought process as you and I also forgot Chemo Boss fired someone….ugh. None of these people need to be bosses, in any case.

        2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

          I had a similar thought process: first, whose craziness resulted in actual harm (not just the threat of harm), and then second, whose harm had a lasting impact that wasn’t solved by better managers higher up the chain (e.g., horse boss was terrible, but the owners saved things; late-night-ride boss was insane, but other bosses tried to redress what he did and fired him). But maybe I should have reframed my inquiry as Alison suggested =/

    7. Biff*

      I went with Liver boss because I felt it illustrated the grossest overreach and misconception about what your employees owe you.

    8. NoMoreMrFixit*

      Yes that was my vote too. Here’s to hoping we don’t get any more candidates before the year runs out! This has certainly been a wild year for atrocious behaviour.

    9. LBK*

      It was certainly a tough call but ultimately I went with the wedding crasher boss. The other bosses are certainly horrible, but I think permanently tainting the memory of what’s supposed to be one of the happiest days of someone’s life is uniquely terrible.

    10. Liz T*

      Plus chemo boss did it repeatedly, unlike wedding boss, horse boss, and airport boss. Harassment boss was the real toss-up, but chemo boss was so much more ACTIVE.

    11. Former Computer Professional*

      The chemo story hits close to home for me (I left a comment in the original post). I had to think about whether that colored my opinion, and then decided that dark, dark anger was a fine color for this door-prize.

    12. DaniTLR*

      It was a very tough call between so many of them, but for me the chemo-interrupting boss eventually got my vote for worst of the worst. There’s more of a sense of management fail in that they’re repeatedly harassing their employee with questions about work on her days off instead of realizing that’s a very broken system, and interrupting her multiple times during medical treatments is just all kinds of wtf heartless.

    13. DaniTLR*

      It was a very tough call between all of them, but for me the chemo-interrupting boss eventually got my vote for worst of the worst. There’s more of a sense of management fail in that they’re repeatedly harassing their employee with questions about work on her days off instead of realizing that’s a very broken system in general, and interrupting her multiple times during medical treatments is just all kinds of wtf heartless.

    14. ST*

      ” liver-transplant-boss and allowed-a-horse-to-die boss were neck-and-neck.”

      I see what you did there. . .

    15. Rebecca in Dallas*

      I had to go with the boss who let his employee’s horse die. I mean, they are all awful for sure. But a living thing literally lost its life (or at least suffered much longer than necessary) because of this guy. No contest.

    1. AMG*

      I had to also. DEMANDING with absolutely no exceptions is beyond insane. The losses can be great to others due to having these Asshats for bosses, but none so great as the loss of your internal organs. I can’t get past it.

    2. Sami*

      That one got to me the most too. I know what it’s like waiting for a loved one to receive an organ (my Dad had a heart transplant) but that boss was sooooo over the line.

    3. The Cosmic Avenger*

      Me too, because there could be circumstances or ways of handling many of the others that would make them just bad, but not horrible. But this? There is no alternate reality where this is even remotely OK. This is 180 degrees from acceptable.

    4. MillersSpring*

      Me too. Actually they’re all horrible.

      Intruding on an employee’s personal time (sleep, chemo, wedding) is extremely bad, plus they were affronted by the push-back; however, demanding access to employees’ organs with threats to fire those who don’t comply seems the most selfish and egregious.

      1. Wendy Darling*

        See I had to go with chemo-crasher because not only is the boss being egregiously horrible, they’re doing it to someone in unfortunate circumstances already. So they get the kicking them when they’re down “bonus”.

    5. Lana Kane*

      I went with liver boss too. I mean, this was a hard choice, but I think that demanding access to your actual, physical body through invasive, irreversible, life changing surgery is probably a bridge too far. Even in this economy.

    6. Annie Moose*

      I too had to go with liver boss. The rest were all terrible (horse boss and chemo boss in particular), but I felt that the violation of people’s bodies and the broad scope pushed this one over the line. The chemo and horse bosses were just awful, but (as minimizing as this sounds) at least they only impacted a small number of people. The liver donor boss affected a TON of people!

    7. Mike C.*

      Yeah, that was my vote as well. The other bosses were great contenders, but organ trafficking really does it for me.

    8. Artemesia*

      Yeah any sympathy for his brother evaporates when he is talking about firing people who won’t allow a hunk of their body to be harvested for the boss. People die donating liver lobes; this is very risky surgery — the sort of thing you only do for people you are actually willing to die for if it comes to that.

    9. Dynamic Beige*

      Me too. I am waiting for the update that Liver Boss then decided to insist that friends, family and relatives also be tested or Employee would lose their job. Followed by the further update that he was arrested for organ trafficking.

      I think there must be a way to creatively combine all of these into the Worst Boss Ever. Sort of the Boss of Worst Bosses.

    10. Disillusioned*

      My choice as well. I doubt anyone will top that for quite some time.

      This is the boss who thinks that he owns his employees, including their internal organs. Other horrible bosses think that they own just your time, even when you sick or sleeping.

    11. Michele*

      I went with liver boss, too, partially because I am very private about my health and the testing would just be so intrusive. However, it was a really tough call between liver boss and the horse killer.

  4. Abby*

    Such a tough choice, but I think I had to go with the liver donor boss. Treating your worker base as a potential organ farm is a whole new level of insanity.

  5. Tableau Wizard*

    I went with the wedding intruder because he put a stain on what should be a perfect day. Though it was definitely not an easy choice!

    1. CM*

      Me too. I figure that everything else is really terrible, but you can basically walk away from it (and with the horse, while that boss was incredibly callous, it seemed like the owner would have had to deal with the trauma of the horse’s death anyway and this just made it worse). But the wedding is supposed to be a once-in-a-lifetime happy memory. For your boss to not only interrupt it, but have to be forcibly escorted out, and then to be disciplined over it?? That’s TERRIBLE. (Not that having your chemo interrupted, your liver demanded, verbal abuse tolerated, etc., is much better.)

      1. Code Monkey, the SQL*

        It’s a whole chocolate box of awful, with a flavor of terrible to appall every palate to the full.


    2. Anonymous for this*

      I agree. I had a boss pretty much ruin my honeymoon, but the wedding would have been unforgivable. It was very difficult because the rage I feel for ALL of them is crazy. For me it was between chemo boss and wedding boss, and wedding boss won.

  6. KimberlyR*

    Oh man, that is the hardest poll I’ve ever had to vote in! They’re all winners (losers) in my book!

  7. Rat in the Sugar*

    Ugh. Had to go with chemo boss on the grounds that he must have put in extra effort to sneak into the back room of the clinic. Dedicated d-baggery.


    I feel like the harassment not being dealt with and the chemo are the worst because they are ongoing issues, and the others are one-offs (though very likely symptoms of larger ills). But they are all horrendous. Really, it is just too hard to pick one….

    Did we ever get an update from the train being stolen or the liver? Ot the chemo?

        1. Tuesday*

          Me too. I hadn’t seen that one the first time around and I just read it, then skimmed through all the comments looking for an update. I’m really curious to know if that LW ever got the heirloom back. I think that one is especially compelling because I have no idea what I’d do in that situation.

          (Not that I’m really sure what I’d do in any of these situations…)

    1. Katie*

      That’s the thing- some of these have updates that make me not want to vote for them because they were at least dealt with. The dead horse and the late-night airport pickup both did.

  9. Dust Bunny*

    Still going with the horse one. The suffering that poor animal went through because this guy didn’t put off a call-back for five minutes was inexcusable.

    1. OhNo*

      That one and the chemo boss were very nearly a tie for me. I had to go with the horse boss, though, because not only did the poor OP and their horse suffer, but that guy works with animals! He should know better!

      1. Amanda*

        I had the same thought process, regarding the same bosses. Horse boss’s awfulness was in direct opposition of what he was supposed to do for a living.

      2. Lora*

        Yeah, this – chemo boss can arguably be classified as “clueless” on the grounds that his medical background probably comes from the occasional episode of Dr Oz and direct-marketing “ask your doctor if you need SooperDrug(TM) for your mild tiredness and traffic-related aggravation today!” so he may, with a LOT of generosity, be assumed to not know a damn thing about chemotherapy, cancer and major illness in general. Some people are fortunate enough to never have a major illness and their siblings or spouses handle any family illnesses, and they get through life without ever seeing the reality that everyone else lives with. It happens, and although one might hope that a firm, “no, chemoboss, you are a jackass and you need to stop this horrid behavior yesterday” would do the trick, unfortunately the Venn diagram of assholes and the extremely fortunate has a significant amount of overlap.

        Horse boss had no excuse that was even remotely plausible. Not only is he bad at being a person, he is bad at his job too, and he needs to think about his life choices.

    2. MWKate*

      Same here. Allowing an animal to suffer like that (especially when you WORK WITH ANIMALS and should have some professional knowledge of urgency of these things and not just basic compassion) was horrendous. In the end – nothing could top that for me.

    3. Adlib*

      Yep, that’s why I picked him as well. I would be devastated and angry in such a way as nothing could make it better. (Although I do like how the company responded.)

    4. Lemon Zinger*

      Yup, this was my pick too. The boss showed a total lack of compassion for animals, which is hugely problematic because of the nature of their work. Total scumbag.

    5. k*

      I went with the horse one because an actual death was caused by their actions. They’re all so bad though.

      1. hodie-hi*

        When death is the result of boss action/inaction, the boss is most evilest ever. Death trumps being fired or harassed in my book.

      2. Rebecca in Dallas*

        I commented above, but absolutely yes. If I had to choose to be an employee in any of the situations above, that is the situation that would be the worst for me.

    6. Another HRPro*

      I was particularly torn between the horse and the boss who stole a family heirloom. They were the worst to me because you can always leave your boss to get away from the rest of the stuff. But you can’t undo a dead animal or get your property back. Both are criminal!

    7. Venus Supreme*

      I went with the horse one too. I allowed my emotions to vote for me- all the other situations made me angry, but this situation ripped my heart out, stomped on it, and slapped me in the face. I wouldn’t wish that on ANYONE.

    8. Jadelyn*

      Yeah, it hit my animal-loving heart way harder than any of the others. That poor person can never get her horse back, can never undo the HOURS of horrible suffering before it died. Everyone else, callous as this sounds, can at least try to get a new job where they don’t have to deal with awful bosses, but the horse boss was the one where there’s no undoing the grievous harm that was done.

  10. Aurion*

    Liver donor for me, because demanding access to organs is a whole new level of WTFery, but chemo-crashing boss was really close.

    1. Koko*

      Same! Liver boss evokes images of a dystopian future novel, but chemo boss is the everyday asshole you know magnified to ridiculous proportions.

    2. SignalLost*

      I actually feel like the crasher bosses (chemo and wedding) are the worst BOSSES, because how horrible do they have to be at managing that only one person knows what they need to know about something that urgent? Liver boss was a terrible person but not necessarily a bad manager in the same way, to me. (And of course whether it was really urgent info we’ll never know, but I can see situations where I have been the only person who knew something Very Important about the way the database is set up, or whatever.)

      1. hbc*

        That’s my thinking tool. There are some managers way, way overstepping boundaries because they’re focused on what’s best for the business in this moment, just kind of blind to the personal implications to their employees. But Liver Boss is deliberately leveraging his business/power to get something personal.

        It’s like the difference between setting up a crappy reimbursement policy that cheats employees out of money, and demanding kickbacks from them. They’re still out money either way, but you have to be deliberate, malicious, and selfish to do the latter.

  11. Murphy*

    I feel like my first choice was relatively easy, but then LITERALLY EVERYONE ELSE was a REALLY close second…

  12. KiteFlier*

    I had to go with the employer of the poor horse. Wedding-interrupter was a close second, but my dog is my child and I can’t imagine recovering from that scenario without emotional scars.

    1. Venus Supreme*

      Yeah, exactly! I feel like if I were in both situations, I could laugh about TerribleBoss crashing my wedding waaayy later on in life, but I would never be laughing about the time TerribleBoss allowed my beloved pet to DIE without TELLING ME

      1. Epsilon Delta*

        Yeah honestly those two aren’t even in the same ballpark for me. For me, Boss crashes my wedding and gets escorted out = a really terrible but possibly funny one day story, and something I can put behind me after a little while. Boss who allowed my beloved pet to not only die but endure extra hours of suffering = I am not ever going to recover from that.

  13. MoinMoin*

    Understandably unpopular opinion: the liver one gets a tiny pass (at least on voting) from me because I’ve seen enough people deal with grief in horrible ways and I try to remind myself of attribution error. Horse Murderer, Red Pill Enabler, and Dogmatic Douches (1, 4, and 5, respectively) are the worst in my mind.

    1. LQ*

      Yeah, I mean the actions were horrible, but at least I can get where it might be coming from on the liver donor one.

    2. Not Karen*

      I gave the liver one a tiny pass because there’s no way they could actually get away with that because threatening or bribing someone for their organs is very clearly illegal, while the other ones had less legal grounds to stand on.

    3. Amazed*

      Yeah, this is why I went with the wedding boss as the worst. Liver boss can at least be written off as grief-stricken, horse murderer claimed they got distracted by a second call requiring follow up, Does Not Care might just not understand that legal lines have been crossed, Dogmatic is probably just complying with an order from up the chain of command… I can’t think of anything similar for wedding boss!

    4. Relly*

      This is why I also gave liver donor boss a pass — it’s horrific, it’s way over the line, but he’s acting out of fear and desperation. It’s not ok or excusable, but at least that person doesn’t make me want to drink bleach and weep for humanity the way others do.

  14. Ripley*

    I voted for the wedding boss because that was supposed to be the couple’s special, magical day, and the boss not only showed up to ask a work question, but got so aggressive that he had to be escorted out.

    1. fposte*

      I gave horse boss a technical downgrade because it turned out that the situation didn’t cause the animal’s death; she would have had to be put down anyway. While horse boss certainly didn’t know that at the time, it meant for me chemo boss slid in ahead of horse boss.

      1. D.A.R.N.*

        Ah, you’re right, I had forgotten that detail. It doesn’t really change my vote, but thanks for the reminder.

  15. LQ*

    Thanks for the note about not including letters writers. Because I desperately hope that we see an update from that person and while I don’t expect to, I do think that not ever including them on this list is a good thing.

    That said. Chemo boss. Though it was a very difficult choice.

  16. Addison*

    I can’t even vote for my own boss, that horse post was the saddest dang thing I ever read.

    But honestly, 2016 is the worst boss of all. Worst year. Fire 2016.

    1. Knitchic*

      Yeah I had to go with yours Addison. I mean my god! Hope 2017 brings you a shiny new higher paying job.

      1. Luciferrous Sulphide*

        Sorry, but I think I missed something here… do you have the link to Addison’s post and his horrible boss?

    2. The Expendable Redshirt*

      Tire Fire 2016….

      I had to vote for the Sexually Harassed Coworker and Boss Does Not Care. They’re all utterly terrible, but not caring about harassment is an ongoing terrible situation that probably won’t change. Sigh.

  17. LSP*

    This is extremely difficult. Who knew there were so many flavors of utterly irredeemable bosses out there? It takes all kinds, I guess.

  18. Temperance*

    I feel like this calls for ranked voting. I ultimately chose the wedding crasher, but the religious bully was a very close second, as was liver donor jerk.

  19. MuseumChick*

    Just realized next year AAM will be ten years old. We should have a “Worst Boss of the Decade” poll!

    1. Lemon Zinger*

      Ooooh what a great idea! It would be so fun to introduce newer readers (like myself) to some of the “gems” from the past.

      1. Mike C.*

        If anything else, would you be willing to post the winners in previous years? It would be interesting to see if there are any patterns or if things are getting worse/better. I suspect worse, if only every year you have a larger readership and can cast a wider net

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Yes! I actually think that the reason 2016 had such awful bosses was because the readership is larger and my mail is coming from a larger universe … I’m more able than ever to pick and choose what I run, and I like to pick weird/outrageous when I can.

          1. babblemouth*

            What’s the percentage of letters you can answer? Or maybe it depends on the time of the year…

                1. Mike C.*

                  I totally forgot about the boss who set up a deadpool-type labor contest for their employees. Not only is simply terrible, it’s also unethical because the outcome will be or is already known by the person setting up the contest. This is why you can’t bet on the Oscar results in Vegas whereas sports are certainly fine.

                2. Kathleen Adams*

                  Yeah, the child abuse one…wow. Just wow. I get that family members might try to find excuses for something like this, but why would a professional (supposedly) HR department?

              1. AD*

                Agreed on that!

                There was egregious behavior in years past, but none that involved physical suffering (demanding organ donations) or fatalities (the poor horse). It’s really hard to top those.

        1. JessaB*

          An AAM Cruise :-) I mean a lot of groups are doing that now. Fans of various TV shows, etc. That’d be cool.

    2. Dynamic Beige*

      There needs to be a “Worst Boss Hall of Fame” because then it could feature the poll winner for the year and all the runner-ups or also rans.

      Seriously, you could make a whole new website just with that. When you think about this website being only a small sliver of the entire population at large… I’m sure there are other bosses out there that are as bad or worse that we never hear about.

  20. Marche*

    This is such a hard choice. Chemo boss, liver boss, and wedding boss are all so awful.

    Chemo boss is a really dedicated sort of assholery from multiple levels of management, liver boss demands the internal organs of employees and terminates the employment of people who can’t or won’t agree to that (you medically can’t donate? TOO BAD. The hypocrisy, good lord), and wedding boss interrupts what should be a very happy day, that may have cost a lot of money, and may have been videotaped.

    This is an impossible choice.

    1. Marche*

      So I went with liver boss. All of them are awful in their own way and while chemo boss and wedding boss made me particularly angry for personal reasons, liver boss is the one who had the most widespread damage. Terminating people left and right for not allowing themselves to be forced into organ donation is going to do serious destruction to motivation, morale, and trust, and will have the most lasting damage. Chemo boss affected multiple people, but was enabled by management who allowed him to do so. Wedding boss made himself look like an idiot and his own employees are already resentful and rightfully angry, but don’t seem to be facing the same kind of termination as liver boss.

      I can only hope that 2017 has worst bosses like “my boss keeps stealing my favourite pens” and not “my boss wants my internal organs”.

        1. Code Monkey, the SQL*

          +1 for “my boss insists on keeping the office too cold in the summer”

          Please let next year be saner – sheesh!

        2. Kyrielle*

          YES! I could even live with “my boss copies my outfits and haircut, AND steals my favorite pens”.

          Please, 2017…please. Give us a lousy choice for ‘worst boss’ because none of them are all that bad, eh? (And not because Alison stacks the deck or people stop writing. Just…be better, 2017.)

  21. Boss Cat Meme*

    This was a tough one, but I went with liver donor boss. That violates a ton of legal, moral, ethical, and privacy norms.

    1. Epsilon Delta*

      I actually went with liver boss too, even though I was most upset by the horse boss. This sums up my reasoning well. Liver boss was egregiously wrong in so many ways. there should have been multiple flags for him to stop and say, “wait this is not an ok thing to demand of my employees.” And then to fire people over it. He just kept on going.

    1. Rubyrose*

      Those three are my top three in the running. Mentally, it is chemo boss. Viscerally, liver boss. Then I try adding horse boss to the mix and I just go on overload.

  22. Tomato Frog*

    I voted for “You should handle this sexual harassment on your own” boss. No, it’s not the most dramatic, but there’s something so much more insidious about bosses who passively facilitate crazy versus those who are blatantly crazy. In some ways it’s easier to deal with a grand evil gesture than with terribleness that masquerades as rationality.

    1. Purest Green*

      I’m going with the harassment one as well. I think it’s because I can imagine myself in that situation, and the worst possible outcome would be for my boss not to care and step in.

      1. pope suburban*

        Me three, because, well, I’ve been there. Working for someone who straight-up, flat-out does not care if you’re threatened, harassed, or otherwise injured on the job is horrible. It chips away at your trust in your own judgment in a way that one large, blatantly insane act from TPTB doesn’t.

        1. Junior Dev*

          Yes, I’ve actively experienced this dynamic–someone in power refusing to step in and stop harassment or bullying–many times in my life. It’s something I actively fear in looking at and considering jobs. I suppose it’s possible I might have a future boss try to crash my wedding or demand my body parts, but it is unlikely enough that I don’t worry about losing my livelihood for it.

    2. Purest Green*

      I went with this one as well because it makes me the most upset for some reason. I think it’s because I can easily put myself in OP’s place and the worst thing I can think of, apart from the actual harassment, is having a boss who doesn’t care, doesn’t act, and doesn’t manage (in addition to making derogatory statements about OP’s mother).

    3. MC*

      I did as well – because it’s SO damn easy to fix. The other bosses are living in alternate universes where their needs take precedence and norms don’t apply. The thieving boss? Not normal. Cancer-boss – not normal. Harassment boss – totally normal but not standing up for what’s right because there could be blowback from the aunt.

    4. Leah*

      I voted for that one as well- I went through a super similar situation in a former workplace, except in my case it was constant religious hate speech, not sexual harassment. I was told by my boss that I wasn’t being very nice or a good friend (wtf?) to my coworker for reporting them when I should be resolving the situation by myself. The coworker was literally telling me every single day that I was going to hell for being a Jew. Reading this letter just instantly brought back memories of that awful place.

          1. Tomato Frog*

            I think Karanda is condemning the boss for suggesting Leah resolve the situation herself, not suggesting the boss can’t do anything.

    5. CMT*

      Same, for exactly your reasoning. There are probably thousands of bosses like this out there. The other ones are truly awful, but so over-the-top that it’s easy to see why they’re wrong.

    6. Observer*

      Yes. Absolutely. And also because this person is not just being awful, but also is enabling other people’s awfulness. And, this kind of abuse really IS terrible. While the OP has not been fired, her health is being affected, and she could wind up being pushed out of her job by this abuse.

    7. Magda*

      I, too, voted for the “just deal with the harrassment” boss.
      Because, I can just too well imagine the employee’s helplessness and frustration, and ongoing damage to their self-esteem. It’s just so insidious, and can crush your soul in a way some of the more egregious cases won’t.

  23. Ask a Manager* Post author

    My thinking for my vote was that I decided to vote based on the person who I think is the worst at managing in particular, as opposed to just failing at being a good human. There’s obviously tons of overlap between those those categories, but I figured that was a logical way to sort through the options, since otherwise they were all tempting to choose.

    1. Amy Farrah Fowler*

      I picked the one that seemed most over-reaching to me (the threatening to fire you if your family and friends don’t follow their values) because that’s not just about the person being managed, but EVERYONE ELSE IN SOCIETY! But wow, this year was quite the doozy.

    2. Tomato Frog*

      My main consideration was sort of a corollary to that: where would I have the hardest time going in day after day and actually doing my job?

  24. Mimmy*

    VERY tough choice – for me it was a tie between horse boss and liver boss – I went with horse boss because of the heartfelt responses and the grief the OP experienced.

  25. irritable vowel*

    Can I just say that the shorthand here is making me laugh out loud… horse boss, liver boss, chemo boss, wedding boss — Paul F. Tompkins, if you’re reading this, I think Cake Boss (cake boss) might have some competition.

  26. The Bimmer Guy*

    For sheer effect and the fact that a life was lost painfully, I vote horse boss. But, rest assured, they were all terrible.

    1. Artemesia*

      Yeah I just explained these to my husband starting with dunce cap boss whom he thought must have been the ‘worst boss of the year’ — I had to clarify that ‘no, he didn’t even make the ballot.’

    2. Not So NewReader*

      I was kind of hoping that with karma and all, dunce cap boss would go to work for liver boss.

    3. Rachel*

      I would love to know who the honorable mentions who just missed making the ballot were. I bet dunce cap boss was one of them.

        1. Rachel*

          Almost forgot about that one! It also speaks to the sheer amount of bad bosses this year that the boss who wanted to move his nephew in with the OP and husband for 3 months and the verbally abusive boss who refused to pay his employees didn’t make the cut either!

  27. Sami*

    2016: the gift that keeps on giving (or taking away or demanding your organs or midnight airport runs or steals your family heirloom or or or…)

  28. AMG*

    I am still waiting for the day when one of these awful people see themselves at AAM and a) write a scathing, self-righteous email that Alison posts; b) is horrified at their behavior once they see it in print and vow to become decent humans; or c) write in that they were haunted by 3 spirits over Christmas Eve and have overnighted a giant Christmas goose to the wronged employee, then run around handing out money and free medical care until they are the most beloved boss to ever walk the cobbled streets of their home town.

    1. LQ*

      The 3 spirits should be the managers of past, present, and future bosses. A look into the past to see the horrors that young evil manager said they would never do when they got to be managers, present views into the whispering snickering gasping horror of people reading the posts, and future firing, alone, and dejected, with no one to care.

      1. The Strand*

        There’s a movie I’m eager to see that is in that vein, called “It’s Christmas, Carole”. Apparently starring Carrie Fisher as the ghost of manager past.

    2. Naomi*

      Now I’m imagining Bob Cratchit’s AAM letter. “Dear Alison, my boss underpays me, won’t heat the office in the middle of winter, and complains about giving me Christmas Day off…”

      1. Fafaflunkie*

        HAHAHAHA! I’m sure he’d have to hand-deliver it, because I’m guessing Scrooge won’t spring for internet access and Cratchit can’t afford it himself on his meager wages.

    3. Coalea*

      Thank you for this comment, AMG! It made me laugh out loud, which I sorely needed to do after remembering all those horrible, horrible bosses!

  29. BestInShow*

    Hard choices, but I went with religion firing you if friends and family did not follow their values system.

    As the child of alcohlic drug addicts – I really don’t need work threatening to fire me over their behavior. I have already dealt with enough trauma caused by their choices thanks! Childhood was hard enough with all the Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree nonsense I don’t need my hard earned middle class life style threatened.

  30. Lovemyjob...Truly!!!*

    I can’t believe that there are so many bosses to pick from. Sad world. I chose the boss who stole the train. I have a relative who literally stole everything that my grandparents owned after their deaths. Everything. She had movers come in before she told the rest of the family they’d passed and packed their belongings up and put them in storage. It was an ugly, awful mess. My grandfather was the “man” in my life growing up and that, combined wit my own family drama, made that letter really hit me hard.

    I would have also voted for Chemo boss and Liver Donor boss.

    1. WhichSister*

      I imagine my sister doing this. She already asked mom for OUR childhood toys that mom kept, them sold them on ebay.

    2. Adlib*

      Worried about this happening on my husband’s side of the family as his father just passed and everyone is 1,000 miles away. :(

    3. Artemesia*

      One of my uncles (mother’s brother) drove up from California when my grandmother was on her deathbed, loaded up his trailer with stuff from her house and then didn’t even visit her in the hospital because ‘well, she wouldn’t know me.’ And I never knew half of my paternal relatives because there was a big schism in the family when my father was 14 and his grandparents died; most of his uncles and aunts tried to steal his share of the estate (his mother had died when he was two and he was owed her share) because the grandparents had cared for him after her death and therefore ‘he already got his.’

      And I don’t think we are an unusually awful extended family; everyone I know seems to have a story like that.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        There was a short article in Forbes roughly eight years ago. It said that MOST family fortunes are lost by one of two reasons: theft or apathy.

        I cannot tell you how many times I have thought of that article and been oddly comforted. While it’s wrong, it’s not uncommon.

        And it also makes me wonder if the thieves themselves get robbed before the story is over.

        1. PABJ*

          My aunt did something similar when my grandmother passed(my grandfather preceded her). She forged her signature on bonds and cashed them after her death. She also secreted a lot of valuable heirlooms away, including pretty much all the jewelry they had. Later she pawned all of them off for drug money. My mother was furious. Fortunately, my grandparents knew my aunt couldn’t be trusted, so they left everything to my mother. My mother had been willing to split the estate with my aunt, but changed her mind when we found out about what she had done. Their relationship still hasn’t recovered, and that was about 15 years ago.

  31. mccoma*

    The whole list is all kinds of wrong. I can only think of a phrase used by my Dad when I was a teenager. “I’m amazed and appalled. Amazed you even thought of it, and appalled that you actually did it.”

    1. Just Jess*

      Same. Being fired/having to leave because of office politics or management incompetence is one thing. Theft (and re-gifting!) of personal property that employees were told to bring is another.

  32. Sleepy McToiletboots*

    It wasn’t until I went to the horse death update that I saw that the OP and manager worked in an animal-related industry! To me that makes it so much worse!

  33. WhichSister*

    This is a really tight race. I can’t wait to see the winner! I went with the wedding crasher. Yes her horse died, but it sounded like horse could have died anyway. And the chemo is bad… but does anyone have happy chemo memories? In the wedding episode, the boss tainted what should have been a happy once in a life time memory. THEN WROTE HER UP!

    1. Rusty Shackelford*

      Wedding Boss and Chemo Boss are very similar, but Chemo Boss gets the edge for me because the person being harassed was so vulnerable. At least the wedding crashee had the ability to get the boss removed from the premises. But yeah, they’re all horrible.

      1. Kai*

        The other thing about the wedding crasher boss, for me, is that at least it has the potential to become a funny story after a few years. The others, not so much.

        1. MoinMoin*

          Agreed. All of the little things that went wrong at my wedding -though not comparing to this- make for good stories now. To paraphrase, “All happy weddings are alike; each disastrous wedding is disastrous in its own way.”
          I want to imagine that writer sending her story to a wedding magazine’s embarrassing stories feature and winning a prize, and also being the life of every dinner party she attends for the rest of her days.

        2. Artemesia*

          This. The drunken guest who made a very public fool of himself at my nephew’s wedding along with drunken drunken guests wife, is now a standard hilarious story every time there is a new family wedding. None of the rest of these will ever be a funny story; hope the woman whose train was stolen got it back, but I doubt she had the nerve to approach the grandboss who got it innocently.

          1. Kai*

            Yes! Nothing too outlandish happened at my wedding, but the few awkward moments (like the guy who made a toast where he brought up for 9/11 for no reason???) are my favorite stories from that day.

        3. Episkey*

          That’s exactly why I felt it wasn’t SO bad — in a few years this is going to be The Story for the Ages — they will telling their grandkids about it and it will probably become the family legend (and be hysterical by that point).

  34. Adam*

    Most years I don’t have trouble narrowing down my choices in this vote. This year I’m kinda dumbfounded. I can make a solid case for each one why they deserve to take home the prize of being the absolute worst. I have no idea what to pick. If I were forced right now I think I might pick the chemo-interrupting boss, but the others still stare out me with evil grins…

  35. The Strand*

    Had to be chemo boss. Liver transplant boss behaved atrociously, but his concern for his brother is understandable. The airport boss, horse-death boss, let-the-harassment-continue boss are all cowardly and sought to cover themselves – garden variety douches.

    It takes a special brand of evil to show up at your employee’s chemo appointment, in a transparent bid to make her miserable and either quit or get so angry she can be fired.

    1. Rachel*

      It was a really hard decision, but I had to go with chemo boss for those reasons…plus he forced the receptionist to give him the OP’s confidential calendar info by threatening to fire her if she didn’t give him the info, and then the receptionist was fired because she did give him the info!

  36. Queen Anne of Cleves*

    oh my this was so hard. I tried to envision myself as the “victim” in each case thinking it would make it easier to vote if I tried to relate. Didn’t work. I went with Chemo Boss though. What a year!

  37. Tequila Mockingbird*

    I totally understand not including the manager whose best employee quit because she wouldn’t let her attend her college graduation, because the manager in question wrote the letter… but what about the Reddit theory that that letter was actually written by the employee? It would have been a creative way to trash her former employer by writing the story from the employer’s (highly unsympathetic) perspective. Just throwing that one out there.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      It’s certainly possible, but I don’t think it’s particularly more likely with that letter than others. I know some people were like “no one can be this clueless,” but I really thought the letter read as genuine.

      1. Jadelyn*

        If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s to never EVER assume that “nobody could be that stupid/clueless/ignorant/etc.”, because the universe will surprise you every time. Never assume you already know all the depths to which human beings can sink.

      2. Rivakonneva*

        Is there any chance of getting an update on this one? I’m really hoping that poor employee found a great job where she is treated as she deserves.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          I’ve asked but had no response … which doesn’t really surprise me, since the post went viral and she ended up getting trashed all around the internet.

      3. Rivakonneva*

        Is there any chance of getting an update on this one? I’m really hoping that poor employee found a great job where she is treated as she deserves.

        Sorry for the double comment. I forgot to include my email for followups the first time. :(

    2. Connie*

      Doesn’t matter whether he’s in the poll or not: That guy is the worst of the year in our hearts, and we all know it.

      I voted for the horse murderer. Yes, the horse would’ve died anyway – it it suffered horrible, unnecessary pain for hours before its death. As an animal lover I know I’d never get over that, ever.

      1. Gandalf the Nude*

        This is going to sound weird, but that is such a relief. My head’s been so backwards lately, I was genuinely worried I’d dreamed them up.

  38. anon for this one*

    Everybody who doesn’t win will be considered tied for second worst boss, right? Because they’re all SO AWFUL.

  39. TSG*

    Allison, would it be possible to also link to any updates we got about these? I know there’s one linked in the original post about the horse dying, but I feel like I read some other updates to these that now I can’t find, and I’m realllly hoping others have updates I missed. Do we know whatever happened for the chemo patient, for example?!

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Here are all updates that we have for these:

      1. Connie*

        I voted for horse boss. Chemo was a close second; wedding crasher third. While the liver donation thing was outrageous, no employee could ever have been made to go through with the arrangement; the donor organization, upon finding out the volunteers were coerced, would immediately have taken them out of consideration. So while the boss’s actions were terrible, the real-life consequences couldn’t have been that great.

        Also – while that boss is wrong, wrong, WRONG, I do at least understand that someone might become unreasonable when they’re freaking out about the potential death of a loved one. Liver boss is totally out of bounds but at least something major pushed him over the line. Bosses hunting up employees at chemo or at weddings for ordinary work questions are just being jerks.

  40. LawCat*

    Really tough to choose. I might not even vote as I am so paralyzed by all the “worthy” choices. Next year, we may need brackets. December madness!!

    1. J.B.*

      I love it! Everyone could fill out their bracket with decisions for which won each match! Of course then, the winner might not be the absolute “worst” but the one who happened to be “worst” in each particular match.

        1. LawCat*

          I don’t think you need a special plug-in. Regular polling will do for the actual competition, but would occur in rounds.

          So with 8 contenders like above, you’d just split it into 4 polling boxes for the first round matches with two contenders in each box/match. PDF or doc with the first round populated would let people fill out their predictions as they follow the competition.

          Round two (semi-finals) would then have two boxes pitting the the winners of each of round 1 against each other. Round three (finals) would pit the winners of the semi-finals together.

          It would be like (using this year’s contenders as examples):
          ROUND 1, all polled at the same time in separate boxes for each match
          Match 1
          – Midnight Airport Boss vs. Religious Values Boss
          Match 2
          – Horse Boss vs. Does Not Care Boss
          Match 3
          – Heirloom Theft Boss vs. Wedding Crasher Boss
          Match 4
          – Chemo Boss vs. Liver Donation Boss

          ROUND 2, polled maybe the next day or next week
          Match 1
          – Winner of Round 1, Match 1 vs. Winner of Round 1, Match 2
          Match 2
          – Winner of Round 1, Match 3 vs. Winner of Round 1, Match 4

          ROUND 3
          – Winners of Round 2 face off

  41. Robin B*

    I had to go with the horse story, since there was actually loss of life, which trumps other terrible situations. You can replace or redo a lot of things, but you can’t replace a beloved pet.

  42. A Teacher*

    I went back and read some of the OPs and comments–wow what a bad year for bosses and just think 11 days left to submit more horrible bosses for 2016. Liver donor got my vote although horse and chemo bosses were super close behind.

  43. animaniactoo*

    Okay, I needed a 2 point ranking system for this:

    1) Which creates an *ongoing* burden for daily have-to-put-up-with-this-crap drudgery.
    2) Of the remaining, what situation was not ultimately acknowledged and resolved in a way that means it was the company as a whole and not the sole boss which is a problem, and boss gets to feel supported in continuing on with their hellmaking. Continuing to make them a bad boss.

    I have no doubt that the one-off situations were jerks in all kinds of other ways which reflect in their management, but I think it’s not quite the same as a persistent situation of a specific issue. You can get past a one-off (time and time again), or it’s that bad and you’re out and on to something new. It’s the “so unbelievably bad, and have to keep going over that ground again and again” that makes it the most awful in my book.

    Which leaves me with “being young and having to deal with this” and “being sick and having to deal with this” plus added factor of “passiveness” vs “dedicated jerk making active moves to do this”. So sorry Addison, your boss was a strong runner up, but you got out-horrored here…

    If this was for the most outrageous stunt pulled by a boss, I’d have to go with the liver donor one in a heartbeat.

    1. Temperance*

      Playing devil’s advocate here: a wedding is, or at least ideally is, a once-in-a-lifetime, very important event. He tried to ruin her wedding by interrupting the vows.

      Maybe it’s because something similar happened to me (although not with any bosses/colleagues, but a member of my husband’s craptacular family), but I find that totally disgusting, horrific, and unforgivable.

      1. animaniactoo*

        My perspective on that: Did you get married? Was the rest of the day good? Did friends and family rally and you still got to enjoy? Did you still accomplish the thing you want (getting married)? Then all the rest of it can be ridiculous story. It hurts, it burns, but it can be lived with.

        In particular, part of that is due to my own personal views on not expecting anything to be perfect and taking the pressure off it to be perfect. That came in very handy when I mentally prepared myself that okay, I could expect 3 things to go wrong on my wedding day. Things would be messed up one way or the other, because that’s the reality of life, but it wasn’t going to *ruin* anything. The overall would still be there. Which really helped when my grandmother died while we were getting ready. She was sick for a very long time and my parents waited until after the ceremony to tell me. It could have ruined it, but I chose/choose to look at it as she lived to see the day (even if she couldn’t be there). We went ahead with a slightly more dampened reception than we were expecting, and it actually kind of helped that we were all there together dealing with both things.

        So, okay – gatecrashed wedding, pretty sucky, particularly his cluelessness that he REALLY doesn’t seem to get that she has a life that doesn’t involve being his employee. But not on the same level (for me) as an ongoing problem that sucks the life out of your day-to-day work life.

    2. Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys*

      I like your system. I am including whether the company made any amends in my decision (fired bosses, paid employee back, etc.), but even with a system it is very tough to pick just one.

  44. Imaginary Number*

    The liver one was REALLY bad but I was surprised we never had an update to that one. Kind of makes me think it might not be real. The one who forced his employee to pick him up in the middle of the night and then wrote her up for it was also really bad, but that one ended up being resolved pretty well. In the end I went with the heirloom-stealer, just because of how painful it was to read about.

    1. Tequila Mockingbird*

      I don’t think Liver Boss was real. I’ve expressed that opinion before. If it’s not real, then we won’t get an update on it.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        I have no way of knowing if any letter here is real, but for what it’s worth, I often don’t get updates I request on perfectly run-of-the-mill letters too. I think people just get busy or don’t want to revisit it or just wanted initial advice and aren’t interested in staying engaged after that. Or even worry about how much attention the first post got, in some cases.

        1. Alice Keach*

          It never occurs to me that a letter here is fake. The possible reasons here why people might not follow up make complete sense.

          I would love to hear something from the OP whose boss hassled her during cancer treatment, just to know she is well enough to write back. We don’t know what the outcome of her treatment was so I’d be so pleased to know she is doing OK.

          1. Michele*

            I have seen some letters on other advice sites that I am sure are fake. However, having had a few doozies of bosses and coworkers, I haven’t found anything on here that I don’t believe.

        2. Fafaflunkie*

          My simple response to anyone who thinks the liver boss letter was fake can be summed up in six words: you can’t make this shit up.

  45. Sideshow Starlet*

    It was a tough choice, but I ended up going with midnight ride boss, only because employee was disciplined solely for doing the boss a favor (a favor which wouldn’t be necessary if he hadn’t been misusing company funds- per the update, he was fudging his time sheets and putting personal expenses on the company credit card, leading to him not being able to pay for his own transportation). At least with the others, you could almost make the argument that they were good workers originally but promoted to management positions through the Peter Principle. The fudging time sheets and personal expenses on a company card just seems so black and white. By contrast, with the liver donor boss (the one I almost picked), while totally wrong in his actions, you could argue that he was doing it out of a place of grief.

    1. fposte*

      I struggle with the latecomers, because I don’t have a full sense of how they look in the rear view mirror. For best consideration, get your awful bosses in early.

      1. Sideshow Starlet*

        Lol! On the other hand, bosses in letters from the beginning of the year, like the dunce cap boss and the boss who accuse an employee of faking a panic attack, can get buried under the letters about more recent terrible bosses.

  46. Sideshow Starlet*

    I feel like the boss who accused an employee of faking a panic attack (and creeped on young, female employees) should have made the cut.

    1. Temperance*

      I hate to say it, but that’s not even in the ballpark of the ones who made the cut here. Interrupted chemo? Demanded body parts? Ruined a wedding? Killed a horse?

      1. Sideshow Starlet*

        The chemo boss didn’t accuse the employee of faking cancer, though, not to say they weren’t terrible. Wedding boss didn’t accuse their employee of staging a wedding ceremony to get out of work, horse boss didn’t accuse their employee of making up the story of the horse dying. Anxiety boss adds an extra level of delusional/paranoid thinking to a terrible situation. Not to say these weren’t all awful bosses that deserved to be in the running. I’m just wondering if there was room for one more. As has been previously mentioned, this has not been a great year for bosses.

    2. Kyrielle*

      I suspect Alison’s deciding which to put in this list – if she didn’t want it to exceed the limit size for either a poll or a post – was bounded by the same kind of difficult, horrible choices that impacted all of us when voting.

    3. So Very Anonymous*

      Yep, that one was pretty bad too. It’s more that 2016 has too many truly out-there bad boss stories. Like the Oscar year when nearly everybody lost to a Lord of the Rings movie — it was just the bad luck of their movies happening to come out the same year.

  47. Kate*

    These are all so awful, it’s hard to pick one.

    For me, it’s ultimately a tie between the boss that let his employee’s horse die & the boss that doesn’t care that his employee is being sexually harassed and verbally abused.

  48. ShanShan*

    This was the hardest decision I have had to make all year!! Definitely makes me thankful for my boss!

  49. Hypothetical Unicorn*

    I had to go with horse boss, just for the pain and suffering that was caused. Chemo boss is a real wad, though.

  50. HR Girl*

    Was the HR Manager who accused the letter writer of purposefully making her food to hot so the lunch thief would get sick and then she eventually was fired this year? That one was insanity (with a happy ending though!).

      1. Jenbug*

        That wasn’t a bad boss situation though. That was bad HR. The LW’s boss was on his side if I remember right.

        1. HR Girl*

          I think the big boss was on their side (and eventually got the LW their job back I think). Maybe worst HR Department of the year so be a poll too (unfortunately….).

    1. Tequila Mockingbird*

      Oh yeah, that was a great story, too. But the HR Manager wasn’t the boss – she was a busybody who overstepped her bounds. The real boss sacked her in the end. Maybe that’s why it’s not included?

    2. Temperance*

      I think that one wasn’t technically a bad boss, though, because the HR person wasn’t the LW’s actual boss. Although that was a wacky one.

    3. The Strand*

      Maybe we could have a “Worst Supporting Actor” category allowing us to pick bad HR, bad coworker, bad client?

  51. Liane*

    I think we need to do these like March Madness. How does that work? Pair them up, then decide which is the worse in each pair and rinse/repeat until I am down to just 1? (Sorry, not much of a sports fan.)

    I don’t think we’ve ever had this many finalists.

    1. Fafaflunkie*

      Sounds like a good idea, except how do you bracket them? Should liver boss compete with wedding crasher in round 1? Or should liver boss compete with the boss interrupting the chemo session? I’m sure Alison shouldn’t be burdened with that.

  52. Tomato Frog*

    My favorite thing about this poll is reading everyone’s explanation for how they voted! Such civilized, rational discussion around such uncivilized, irrational behavior.

    1. Relly*

      I was just thinking that, too! I love so many perspectives and rationales. What you said earlier about the banality of evil was awesome, and important to remember — although I still voted chemo boss for the sheer dumpster fire factor.

  53. Biff*

    I’m going to be honest. I voted, but honestly, I could have picked MOST of these and been comfortable with my decision. I could change my my mind tomorrow too. Sheesh.

  54. MoinMoin*

    The horse story was just unbelievably awful, but the update was definitely one of the better ones as well. You can’t replace the life of a beloved pet, but her employer really went above and beyond in trying to make it right with her. 2016 was exhausting in it’s terribleness but I choose to take this as a positive sign in the humanity of others and the possibility for redemption in even the worst situations.

  55. Alice Keach*

    It has been a bumper year for horrible bosses. But I voted for the chemotherapy crasher boss because that is so truly awful I can’t get my head around it.

  56. vanBOOM*

    I’m having a true mind/heart problem with this one!

    In my heart, it’s the horse boss…but in my mind, the chemo boss, wedding crasher boss, liver boss, and religious policy boss all cross the “OH HELL NO” line with me simply because of their blatantly inappropriate intrusiveness into one’s personal life. Of the “mind” ones, I suppose the religious policy one would be the worst because I would laugh in the face of all the others (before calling the police, where applicable), whereas the religious policy one would just make me feel angry.

    OK, the heart wins. Horse boss.

  57. Annie Moose*

    All right, for entertainment value, here’s my full ranking. It was not easy to arrange these, and I find it appalling that the other seven were so bad that OUTRIGHT THEFT ended up at the BOTTOM of my list!

    1. Liver boss
    2. Chemo boss
    3. Horse boss
    4. Religious boss
    5. Wedding boss
    6. Airport boss
    7. Harassment boss
    8. Heirloom boss

    (to rank these, I had to do a whole bracket thing… there was no other way I could have ranked them)

    1. Purest Green*

      Oh this is fun. My ranking is:

      1. Harassment boss
      2. Chemo boss
      3. Religious boss
      4. Liver boss (honestly #3 & 4 are tied because both make me equally indigant)
      5. Horse boss
      6. Airport boss
      7. Wedding boss
      8. Heirloom boss

    2. HeyNonnyNonny*

      Oh, dear. This is my full ranking, but let’s be honest, the pendulum of incredulous anger swings quickly and I know this will change in 5 minutes.
      1. Horse boss
      2. Harassment boss
      3. Chemo boss
      4. Liver boss
      5. Religious boss
      6. Heirloom boss
      7. Airport boss
      8. Wedding boss

    3. Not So NewReader*

      Am I the only one who is amused by how we have managed to give each one of these bosses a one word nickname? And it’s just something that came together, nothing pre-planned.

  58. Chris*

    That was a tough one. I finally went with the boss who crashed the wedding. Too many layers of terrible to not include that one.

  59. Coffee Owl*

    Oh man. I am completely paralyzed by indecision. All of them are so BAD! So very, very BAD!

    I used Alison’s idea of trying to evaluate them based on actual management repercussions rather than who is the worst person EVER (all of them, they are all the worst person) and was able to narrow it down to the top three that, in my opinion, had the farthest-reaching effect: Liver Boss, Chemo Boss, and Religious Boss. While the others were HORRIBLY egregious, maybe they were isolated incidents of insanity! Unlikely, but a girl can dream. My top three spoke to an entire culture of being horrible throughout the organization.

    To pick the top one of three, I literally drew a name, and Liver Boss won.

  60. Grey*

    It’s easier to pick the worst employee of 2016. That’s clearly Fergus. Someone is writing about him nearly every day. How does this guy still have a job?

        1. FormerLibrarian*

          Many, many years ago I had a supervisor (not really a boss, just an “acting” department head) whose name really was Jane. And she was indeed one of those bosses about whom folks write letters to Allison. My one consolation after leaving that place was running into one of her former bosses, a sweet woman of the ‘wouldn’t hurt a fly’ variety, who told me that “I’d love to supervise her again. I could make her life HELL!!”. It was nice to know I wasn’t the only one to have a poor opinion of her as well as a lasting grudge. :)

  61. Cochrane*

    Here’s a thought that’ll keep you up at night: many of these contestants achieved their position because of, not in spite of, these lovely personality traits.

  62. Fact & Fiction*

    I went with chemo crashing boss because I’ve lost loved ones to cancer and have seen what both they and those who survived treatment went through. NO ONE should have to stress out about an asshole boss stalking them DURING chemo when literally fighting for their lives.

    That said, all the other bosses are horrible, too.

    1. Marisol*

      I picked that boss too because my assumption is that stressing out a cancer patient can have a direct adverse impact on someone’s health, and actively doing physical harm to an employee is a worse management decision than firing them.

  63. Anon and alone*

    So hard to pick just one. I went with chemo boss, even though liver boss is SO horrible he comes off (to me at least) as a lot desperate and (maybe) lost his mind along the way. Chemo boss is just vile and creepy. Alison, did you hear anything more about the boss verbally abusing her stepchild (“My boss brags about being verbally abusive to her step-child” Sept. 27, 2016)? I’m so worried about that child.

    1. Juli G.*

      I did the same thing for the same reason. At least liver boss’ insanity could be driven by grief and love for his family.

  64. Cautionary tail*

    I had to go with liver donor boss. My criteria was, is this someting that will be a great/miserable story later in life, or will this potentially kill the Op so there may not be a later in life? As much as I want all of them to win, that criteria narrowed the list down for me quickly to only two: chemo boss and liver donor boss. From there the choice was exremely difficult, essentially a toss-up.

  65. Callallily*

    I want to see Alison create her own reality tv special where each week she takes a bad boss from the letters and shows them the error of their ways. Then the final month of the year is her reviewing hidden camera footage to see if the bosses really did change. Then she takes all the bosses that didn’t change their ways and put them into a boss bootcamp with the most changed boss putting them through gruelling tests and we all get to vote for the worst boss like American Idol. The ‘winners’ of the bootcamp then get sent to a closed office set where they must use warlike tactics to take out the other bosses (kind of like the hunger games). The most ruthless boss then wins a cash prize to ensure they can retire and never be responsible for managing again AND the letter writer gets the old bosses job.

    I would pay for this to happen… I need this to happen…

    I may have spent too much time thinking about this today.

    1. AMG*

      And there’s another thing to add to the list of Stuff I Need to Do when I will the lottery. We can have small viewing parties in major metropolitan cities and live post our feedback as we all watch the show.

    2. CM*

      Yes! It would be like Supernanny but in the workplace! Alison, please consider this. You’ve already been expanding into other media outlets… I think you’re ready for your closeup.

    3. Fafaflunkie*

      I’m sure both A&E and TLC will come up with their own versions of this show with slightly different titles. Stop giving them ideas, because I’m 100% certain neither you nor Alison will be getting any royalties! :-0

  66. Lady phoenix*

    Went for the boss who won’t ficking stop the sexual harassment.

    At least 2 of the bosses listed got their bite of karma, but this piece of trash is ignoring ANF encouraging a dangerous environment. I won’t be surprised if the clark actually physically harms the OP at thos point cause the supervisor won’t fire his ass. Fuck the both of them.

  67. Matt*

    For me it’s a coin flip between chemo-boss and liver-boss, as both rise to a level of callousness that outstrip the others. Chemo-boss is certainly a callous, lying #### and is a symptom of a much larger toxic culture, having implied that he may terminate the OP if he’s not allowed to have continued unfettered access during the recovery period if I read the post correctly. However, liver-boss actually HAS terminated not one, but several employees despite having legitimate reasons for refusing (not that there’s any legitimate reason for actually making such a brazen demand in the first place), which could be grounds for a class-action suit in the hands of the right attorney. On that basis, liver-boss gets my vote.

  68. Amber Rose*

    I actually cheated a bit on this and voted twice, please forgive me! But they’re all so awful. Like, the one about stealing stuff is so awful and is still somehow the least astonishing thing in that list. I couldn’t resolve my internal tie between chemo crasher and wedding crasher. They are the two that are so awful that I actually don’t have words in english to properly describe the enormity of how bad I think they are.

  69. Erica B*

    I just commented recently on a FB post about all the horrible boss stories this year. And they are just awful!

    it was hard to pick one… I wanted to pick them all

  70. 252life2work*

    So many worthy candidates.

    In the end, I had to go with the douche that made his employee pick him up from the airport in the middle of the night, then wrote her up.

    At least he got what he deserved in the end.

  71. Barney Stinson*

    I think we need to be able to rank the choices from now on. The field is pretty tight here.

    FWIW, I went with Liver Boss. He fired a pregnant woman for not signing up to be a liver donor. Mean AND stupid is no way to go through life.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      I think we ought to send him back to grammar school science class so he can learn how the body works. He missed it the first time. He can sit in those tiny little desks and we can all watch.

  72. Elizabeth West*

    Poll is grinding…sigh.

    I had to pick the boss who’s letting an employee be verbally abused and sexually harassed by a coworker and Does Not Care. Reason: The other incidents, while symptomatic of a horrible boss and rather outrageous on their face, aren’t as insidious as tolerating abuse. Not only is that boss enabling serious damage to a person, they’re putting the entire company (and all the other employees who encounter the bully) at risk.

    1. FormerLibrarian*

      I’m voting for this one for a similar reason. The damage to the OP is slow and insidious, and by normalizing it, the manager is setting the OP (and others who witness it regularly ) up for long term sequellae. After a while when you’re dealing with daily abuse, even though you intellectually know it’s not normal nor is it your fault, you still internalize some of the messages you keep getting.

      I haven’t had to deal with sexual harassment but I’ve been harassed by two supervisors. I knew it was time to get out of the second situation when I realized that I asked myself every morning if I had enough PAL to take a ‘mental health day’, and when reports to HR led to exactly nothing (they only cared about sexual harassment, I had to “talk to her” with her supervisor, who was her best friend, and of course they tried to gaslight me that the assault hadn’t happened, and she was just ‘concerned’ because she knew I was upset about something). It’s been over 20 years since I left that place, and I still don’t truly trust supervisors or upper management (several more bad managers after her didn’t help any), and tend to assume any interaction with them is going to be because I’ve done something wrong.

      It didn’t help that I grew up in a rather dysfunctional family, so yes, I’ve had more than a few years of therapy, and yes I need a lot more.

  73. Camellia*

    RE: #1. It says ‘threatened’ to let people go, but the original letter said, “People who declined were let go. ” which is much worse.

  74. Annoyed in Norwich*

    My previous boss thought it OK to fire half the staff because the company was suffering financially, then the next day all the directors arrived to work in brand new expensive cars.

    Oh, and women who claimed sexual harassment were fired too (one director was touchy-feely)

    In fact, the whole place was pretty shoddy. Glad I left.

  75. CQ*

    This year’s bosses really put up a good game, they really made it hard to pick just one.

    On principle, though, I had to go with the organ-snatcher. That’s just horrible.

  76. Marzipan*

    For me it’s liver donor boss all the way. It combines being terrible with having an impact on loads of employees (edging out, say, chemo boss, who was awful, but just to one person. That we know of, anyway…).

    1. Observer*

      I wouldn’t call it SYMPATHY as much as “less unhuman and horrible” than the rest. Not a very high bar to clear, unfortunately.

    2. animaniactoo*

      On that one can I have a small amount of compassion/benefit of the doubt for somebody being out of their mind with worry and fear. To be sure, it’s a very small amount and I hope that there was some justice in there somewhere on all sides and I REALLY want the LW and the fired employees to be the recipients of the major portion of it. But it’s there.

  77. eemmzz*

    This was such a hard decision but I finally went with liver donor boss. The idea of forcing your employees to potentially donate an organ is just… my goodness

    1. MashaKasha*

      I went with him too, after re-reading the post and remembering that he followed through on his threat and actually fired people for things like having a congenital liver disease or being pregnant (???) and therefore not being able to donate.

    2. EmmaLou*

      I was surprised that he wasn’t called the Vidiian Boss. “Here, let me just help myself to your bodily organs.”

  78. Sabine the Very Mean*

    I am desperate for an update to the manager of the college grad, though. Would even love if the poor college grad could write in.

  79. INFJ*

    If I’m going off of who was the worst at managing, it’s a toss up between chemo boss and airport boss. They both went way over the boundary line, and then punished someone else for what they did. Airport boss also ended up having other ethical issues (fudging time sheets, using company card for personal use).

    That being said, careless horse boss and harassment boss that Does Not Care made me the most outraged by far. I may end up voting with my emotions…

  80. Marisol*

    Question about Wedding Crasher boss – do we know the extent of his disruption? OP says he showed up and had to be escorted out, but doesn’t say what he actually did or said. I get the impression that some commenters think the boss interrupted the wedding vows or otherwise made a scene, but I don’t think it says that in the letter. It just says he showed up and was later kicked out. So he might have been a pill without completely ruining the special day. Am I missing something?

    1. Observer*

      Yes, I think you are. I highly doubt he would have had be escorted out by someone with police experience had he behaved in a halfway reasonable fashion.

  81. Fresh Faced*

    Initially I went with letting harassment slide boss because that brand of terrible seems more common in workplaces which personally terrifies me. But the Liver donar boss got my vote in the end. If it wasn’t for the firing of the employees who declined testing it would’ve been Chemo boss.

  82. Little Love*

    They are all so awful, it was very hard to chose. Makes me appreciate my crabby but not that hard to live with boss.

  83. Delta Delta*

    I am what’s known as a Horse Person. You DO NOT mess around with colic. That said, Liver Boss just can’t be topped in my book.

    Best Boss Ever, imo, would be a combination of opposites of the worst 2 – a boss who donates a healthy horse to someone caring & deserving. :-)

  84. Inigo Montoya*

    I had to go with chemo boss. I just finished a year of cancer treatment and I cannot imagine how much hell I would have raised had my boss shown up at my treatments. I probably would have written to AAM to ask how to find another job after being fired for kicking my bosses ass at a cancer center.

    1. Jean*

      After reading your comment, I’m going to go back and vote for Chemo Boss. Sexual harassment, organ-stalking, and various jaw-dropping attempts at being a total dictator are all horrible, but after seeing cancer give grief to friends and family I think that Chemo Boss is the most egregiously inconsiderate and loutish specimen. And that’s saying something. A plague on all these villains!

    2. Jean*

      Me too. Not a cancer patient myself but I’ve seen enough cancer-related suffering that I cannot imagine anyone being so obnoxious as to interrupt someone during a treatment. Unless it’s a question about which phone to use to avoid nuclear warfare, it. can. wait.

    3. Dynamic Beige*

      I’ve never been through chemo, so a part of me wonders if Chemo Boss thought they were doing something good, by showing up and being there, keeping the OP company. But they don’t really know what to talk about, so they stuck to work topics. I know, I’m reaching and I can’t remember if it was specified that CB was doing it to ensure OP wasn’t just ducking out on work or something (even though it was their day off). Although offering to give OP a ride there and back, would have been a better way to go about it, along with understanding if they refused.

  85. Buffay the Vampire Layer*

    I went with Chemo boss (with sexual harassment boss a close second), just for the sheer magnitude of the offenses, but I wanted to say something about heirloom boss as well. That one has really stuck with me as having really no excuse. Not related to the business, not forgetfulness, no possible good intention. Just callous and cruel. Heirloom OP, I’m really sorry that happened and I hope you find a good resolution of the whole thing.

  86. Not So NewReader*

    Regardless of who wins, I think all the OPs know that their predicaments are/were in our hearts and minds. I know some OPs are in a better setting now and I hope the rest of the OPs will be better off very soon.

  87. K Too*

    To choose just one was a tough choice :-)! Went for the heirloom, but the chemo and liver-donor bosses were definitely at the top of the list.

  88. Chris*

    I think we need a ‘runners up’ post ti highlight the sheer number of outstanding entries this year.

  89. Chaordic One*

    You know, this would be a good job interview question to ask prospective employees.

    I’m just sayin’.

  90. Mike B.*

    Last year I was a bit annoyed because I didn’t really agree with the winner (it was certainly a nasty story, but I got the impression there was another side to it, and it benefited from having had an update immediately before the vote), and I wanted a more satisfying result. I guess I should have been careful what I wished for.

  91. Engineer Woman*

    Not sure if someone noticed but Liver Donor Boss actually fired people for not complying with his absolutely ridiculous requirement of medical testing whereas others “only” (bad enough, of course) threatened to, i.e. Relatives and friends complying with religious requirements. So I think I got to go with this one..

    Although the others are so awful too… Having your boss show up at chemo? Or at your wedding? Who wants to remember their joyous wedding day ruined by having had to throw your boss out, while he’s probably making a scene….

  92. PG*

    …and yet business society continues to delude itself that management is the be-all-end-all of superiority.

    These (again) make me need a chaser, if y’all know what I mean.

    I seriously believe that AAM should be mandatory reading for all in “positions of authority” including a test on the week’s material.

    And then an annual final ~ 12/19. :)

  93. Junior Dev*

    While I think the liver-soliciting boss was the worst in absolute terms, I voted for the harassment-enabling boss because I think that kind of thing is much more common, and people are more likely to tolerate it. The boss trying to steal employees’ body parts is almost universally reviled, but I’ve seen so many people (not here, just in general) make excuses for tolerating abuse and harassment in the workplace.

    1. Observer*

      That’s a very good point. Sad that this conversation is even happening, though.

      Personally, I would put Chemo boss as worst *person*, with the liver boss being second. The wedding boss goes 4th.

  94. PABJ*

    It was a tough decision, but I ended up going with chemo interrupter. Liver boss was a close second. My decision was somewhat swayed by positive outcomes that we heard about in some of the cases. A few of them seemed more passively terrible than actively horrible, like the boss who just doesn’t care(not that she isn’t a horrible boss). I give a three way tie to train thief, not caring, and wedding crasher for third worst. If some of the others hadn’t had positive outcomes or reversal of policy, the order would probably be different.

  95. A.C. Stefano*

    I had to go with chemo, because ~emotions~. My mom had cancer ten years ago, and if she had a boss, and that boss had been interrupting her chemo treatments, they’d still be finding bits of the bodies.

  96. BethRA*

    Voted for “Gaslighting as response to verbal and sexual harasment” because of the way it normalizes abuse on a larger scale. But Horse Boss was a very close second, and still breaks my heart to think about it.

  97. Interviewer*

    Some of these bosses broke significant ethical & social norms, while others broke actual laws. It was a tough decision, but I had to narrow it down somehow, so I decided to go with law breakers.

    And after much considering all year, really – we knew this was coming, didn’t we? – I went with liver donor boss. It’s totally splitting hairs, though. Any one of these bosses could win this poll and it would make total sense.

    And 2016, after December 31 is over, you’re dead to me.

  98. NY*

    I’m surprised the boss who saw his best employee quit when he refused to accommodate her request to take two hours off to attend her graduation wasn’t a nominee for worst boss of 2016

  99. The Strand*

    Reading a few of the comments, I realized I wanted to look back at chemo boss again, because he, like liver boss, did actually fire people, and like horse boss, put someone’s health at risk (but unlike horse boss, no one died as a result).

    He forced an assistant to reveal where the OP was on her day off, then fired the assistant when she got in trouble for sharing confidential information.

    He was asked repeatedly by clinic staffers not to disturb the OP on her treatment taking place outside of work, and even lied and said he had an “emergency” on more than one occasion. He also snuck in when “no one was looking”.

    During the time he was bothering the OP, he would make veiled references to her losing her job. I don’t think I was the only person who got the sense that chemo boss was doing this deliberately to harass the OP out of her job.

  100. Becky*

    I voted for Horse Boss.

    My reasoning was that while the others are all so abhorrent, this boss’s negligence caused a being who couldn’t help itself (either speaking up for itself or changing its circumstances) hours of needless pain–not to mention the poor employee who has to live with that now. Arrrgh!

  101. sstabeler*

    I voted for the boss who called an employee to pick them up from the airport, then suspended the employee for being dressed casually. Why? because the others were basically the boss being a terrible human being, but this one was explicitly a fialure in their capacity as a boss.
    1. Horse Boss: horrible human being, but had they been a co-worker, it wouldn’t have made it any less bad. Deserved a “honourable” mention as being a shitty thing to do, though.
    2. liver donor gets a but of a pass as I suspect they are more “thoughtless” than “malicious”- they’re not thinking straight, not deliberately acting with malice.
    3. interrupts employees wedding: a close 2nd, honestly, and only really because they only wrote the employee up, not suspended them.
    4. sexual harassment: more shitty human being than anything.
    5. stolen family heirloom: this one gets a pass because I suspect they had a brain fart and either thought it was abandoned property- if it had been, they’d be free to do with it as they wanted- or hadn’t realised it was important to the employee.
    6.chemotherapy: shitty human being, not necessarily shitty boss.
    7.employer requires your friends and family to follow their religious values: again, shitty thing to do, but in this case, there is forewarning so you can seek alternative employment. it doesn’t make it acceptable, but it again hasn’t got the malice required, IMHO.

    so airport boss is the worst of the bunch. None are exactly shining examples of how you should act, though.

  102. Citrinia*

    The boss that complained about not having money for bills that owned a strip mall, 2 homes, land, rentals and 6 cars.

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